Don’t get caught out by a sociopathic liar. Look out for these signs and steer well clear.

What is a sociopathic liar?

Unfortunately, they come in all shapes and sizes, from all walks of life. The unsuspecting romantic partner, work colleague or internet fraudster can all turn out to be a sociopathic liar. It is possible to avoid being caught out, so look out for some of these warning signs that you are dealing with a sociopath.

Warning sign 1 – watch their words

Sociopaths can have some of the most hidden and dangerous personality features. However, there are often a few tell-tale signs in the early stages of interaction.

Sociopaths are fast talkers. A sociopathic liar will use words that they do not mean and will use language designed to cover their behaviour. This is why a sociopathic liar is often “fake” as they may be a completely different person from who they say that they are.

Are they making big promises? Do they tell you tall stories with no way of backing them up? Chances are you are dealing with a sociopath.

Also, does your sociopathic liar regularly shower you with over the top praise? Are you the best thing since sliced bread to them? Do they often tell you they can’t live without you? Partners who are sociopaths may also say they would never do anything to hurt you, or that you make them a better person. Of course, all of these things infrequently in isolation may not be a red flag. But, all of these things in regular succession point to someone potentially being a sociopathic liar.

A sociopath may also use extremely negative words. This could be the second phase after they’ve got to know you a little better. You might find they blame you for a lot of things. These are usually minor and of little consequence, but they may also blame you for lying to them. They will say they can never trust you again, or that they have never done anything to hurt you, but look at what you’ve done to me!

Warning sign 2 – their behaviour

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) by the American Psychiatric Association, the essential feature is the sociopath’s willingness to “disregard [or violate] the rights of others.”

A sociopath will quickly switch between being your best friend or your worst enemy. But a sociopathic liar will give you millions of reasons to defend that behaviour towards you. They are always blameless and rarely apologise unless they are caught and it will make them look good.

Some studies of sociopaths actually say that their behaviour is 90% of the rule. If you can focus on their behaviour and ignore the words they say, you can see the sociopathic liar before your very eyes.

A sociopath may also form strong opinions. They will not often form these opinions on the basis of any forethought but rather when it’s convenient or makes them look good. They can also use them to adopt the opposite point of view, just because they think they can!

Warning sign 3 – getting too close

As well as trying to be your best friend, a sociopath can also be very good at making others fall in love with them—especially if they are lonely, grieving or have low self-esteem at the time. The same behaviour can be applied to being hired; sociopaths can make themselves look like the next brilliant inventor or superstar. If you’re swept off your feet by someone, you may be falling for a sociopathic liar.

You should also be aware of your own emotions through all of this. In his psychology study, People Who Can Ruin Your Life, Bill Eddy identified sociopaths will often have Targets of Blame.

These are people who often enjoy the suffering of others. Either they get aggressive back with the sociopath or they show their fear or frustration. Both of these are unwise.

It’s better to calmly disengage than to show how they affect your emotions. They will enjoy your helpless anger and/or your helpless frustration. It just confirms that they are dominating you.

This domination is what Eddy describes as the driving force. The sociopath has lots of energy and uses it to dominate others. He also found that sociopaths often lack a conscience, so they will do anything to get what they want.

Don’t get caught out

So many people marry sociopaths even though they saw some warning signs. They also hire them, do business deals with them or elect them to responsible positions. They wanted to believe the person’s words rather than pay attention to how they felt.

Trust your feelings more than their words. If you have an uncomfortable or extreme feeling, check it out.

So, if you think you are dealing with a sociopathic liar, they are likely to be using their words and their behaviour to get you on their side. Fortunately, Eddy also found that sociopaths may target anyone, but most people will just avoid them. The ones they keep targeting or bullying are those who stay engaged with them. Stay away!

References:

  1. Psychology Today
  2. Psychiatry.
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